Hamburg escape bottom three with Nuremberg win

16 March 2014 06:46

Hamburg escaped the Bundesliga's bottom three for the first time since January with a tense 2-1 win at home to fellow-strugglers Nuremberg on Sunday.

Hamburg midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu gave them a late lead when his deflected shot looped over Nuremberg goalkeeper Raphael Schaefer on 80 minutes.

Nuremberg midfielder Mike Frantz then turned the ball into his own net six minutes later.

Hamburg's Germany goalkeeper Rene Adler pulled off a stunning save to deny Jose Campana's free-kick after Swiss striker Josip Drmic scored the guests' late consolation goal in added time.

With Hamburg desperate to avoid their first relegation from Germany's top flight, Mirko Slomka replaced Bert van Marwijk as coach a month ago and saw his side climb to 14th.

"We've overtaken two teams now, which means nothing other than we now have something to defend -- namely, not being in the relegation places," said Slomka.

Nuremberg drop to 15th while VfB Stuttgart, who drew 1-1 at Werder Bremen on Saturday under new coach Huub Stevens, find themselves second from bottom.

Freiburg moved up to 16th, but stay in the relegation places, with a 4-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday as five points now separate the bottom five teams.

At the top of the table, leaders Bayern Munich can be crowned champions next Saturday -- with a record eight games to spare -- as their 2-1 win at home to Bayer Leverkusen left them 23 points clear.

The European champions will be confirmed as German champions for the 24th time if they win at Mainz next Saturday and rivals Dortmund and Schalke both draw.

Goals by Mario Mandzukic and Bastian Schweinsteiger saw Bayern enjoy their 17th straight league win and extend their record unbeaten Bundesliga run to 50 matches.

Former Germany striker Stefan Kiessling gave Leverkusen a consolation goal when he headed home just before the final whistle.

The victory capped arguably the most turbulent week in Bayern's history after ex-president Uli Hoeness resigned on Friday, 24 hours after being convicted of tax fraud.

He was sentenced to three-and-a-half years by Munich's regional court having defrauded the state of 28.5 million euros ($39.5 million) in unpaid taxes.

Leverkusen were the last German team to beat Bayern, back in October 2012, but Sami Hyypia's side offered little resistance as they suffered their seventh defeat in eight matches.

They had already dropped to fourth after being knocked from third by Schalke's 2-1 win at Augsburg on Friday when Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored both goals.

- Dortmund stumble -

Bayern's relentless march to the title was helped after second-placed Borussia Dortmund suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach earlier on Saturday.

Gladbach earned their first win in ten games to dent Dortmund's confidence ahead of Wednesday's Champions League last 16 clash at home to Zenit St Petersburg when they hold a 4-2 lead from the first leg.

Dortmund are now just one point clear of third-placed Schalke ahead of the Ruhr Valley derby on March 25.

Swiss coach Lucien Favre extended his Gladbach contract last week until 2017 and his side produced a devastating first-half spell with two goals in nine minutes at Dortmund's Westfalenstadion.

Brazilian striker Raffael wrong-footed Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller on 31 minutes, then Max Kruse fired home five minutes before the break.

Gladbach midfielder Havard Nordtveit was sent off for a second yellow card for the final 20 minutes and new-signing Milos Jojic pulled one back for Dortmund on 77 minutes.

Mainz moved up to fifth with a sensational 4-2 victory at Hoffenheim with Japan's Shinji Okazaki netting their last two goals as the guests scored three times in seven stunning second-half minutes to come from 2-0 down.

The win keeps Thomas Tuchel's Mainz in the hunt for a European spot next season and are only three points short of a Champions League berth.

Wolfsburg drop to sixth after their 1-1 draw at bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig as only three points separate the bottom four clubs including Freiburg, Hamburg and Stuttgart.

Hertha's European aspirations suffered a setback as they lost 2-0 at home to Hanover 96 to stay ninth and four points off the top six.

Source: AFP